Self-compassion training for binge eating disorder: A pilot randomized controlled trial


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Abstract

Objectives.The present pilot study sought to compare a compassion-focused therapy (CFT)-based self-help intervention for binge eating disorder (BED) to a behaviourally based intervention.Design.Forty-one individuals with BED were randomly assigned to 3 weeks of food planning plus self-compassion exercises; food planning plus behavioural strategies; or a wait-list control condition.Methods.Participants completed weekly measures of binge eating and self-compassion; pre- and post-intervention measures of eating disorder pathology and depressive symptoms; and a baseline measure assessing fear of self-compassion.Results.Results showed that: (1) perceived credibility, expectancy, and compliance did not differ between the two interventions; (2) both interventions reduced weekly binge days more than the control condition; (3) the self-compassion intervention reduced global eating disorder pathology, eating concerns, and weight concerns more than the other conditions; (4) the self-compassion intervention increased self-compassion more than the other conditions; and (5) participants low in fear of self-compassion derived significantly more benefits from the self-compassion intervention than those high in fear of self-compassion.Conclusions.Findings offer preliminary support for the usefulness of CFT-based interventions for BED sufferers. Results also suggest that for individuals to benefit from self-compassion training, assessing and lowering fear of self-compassion will be crucial.

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